THE BLOG
03/30/2011 11:08 pm ET Updated May 30, 2011

IRS Topic 556: Alternative Minimum Tax

IRS.gov describes Topic 556 -- Alternative Minimum Tax -- as follows: The tax laws provide tax benefits for certain kinds of income and allow special deductions and credits for certain kinds of expenses. The alternative minimum tax (AMT) attempts to ensure that anyone who benefits from these tax advantages pays at least a minimum amount of tax.

The AMT is a separately figured tax that eliminates many deductions and credits, thus increasing tax liability for an individual who would otherwise pay less tax. The tentative minimum tax rates on ordinary income are percentages set by law. For capital gains and certain dividends, the rates in effect for the regular tax are used.

The recent report of the General Electric Company's failure to pay any tax to the United States government, indeed to be owed a tax refund, may not have surprised the beltway cognoscenti and business cynics, but it sure stunned the folks around here. If there were ever a simple fact to infuriate a population already damaged and embittered by corporate actions on the employment and political front, this was it.

But we have the Citizens United case to hand. Corporations may act as individuals. So here is a simple proposal: let's tax corporations as individuals and make them subject at least to the Alternative Minimum Tax. And let's make sure to include all government subsidies as ordinary income.

Will someone do the math? Might help the deficit.